Victim Support Project (VSP is a care giving scheme by the Treasure of Life Foundation in partnership with the Beacon of Hope Foundation. The project reaches out you children and juveniles who have fallen victim of crime whether through domestic violence or unlawful violation through assaults, false imprisonment and the likes. Many children and juvenile who become victims of crime develop very perceptions to life and suffered all manner of social and psychological trauma as a result of such crime.
Even though as a Country, we have a strong legal regime aimed at protecting children in particular, evidence on the ground shows that there is virtually no support at all for victims of crime in Ghana. The Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVSU) of the Ghana Police Service is seriously under resourced and the Department of Social Welfare has also failed in its mandate to assist these institutions with shelters, counselling and other vital facilities that could assist these victims of crime particularly children.
In Ghana, Article 28 of the 1992 Constitution and the Children’s Act, 1998 (Act 560) provides for the protection of children’s rights whilst the Criminal Offences( Amendment) Act, 1998 (Act 554) guarantees protection of the child from sexual offences, abduction and abandonment and the Domestic Violence Act, 2007 (Act 732) also guarantees protection of individuals against violence in domestic settings.
The Victim Support Project (VSP) is designed to respond to the needs of these unfortunate and vulnerable victims of crimes especially women and children. Ghana has also signed and ratified a number of international laws which binds Ghana to protect and secure the safety of children. Among these international instruments are that Convention on the Rights of the Child which was signed and ratified on 29th January 1990 and 5th February 1990 respectively. Furthermore the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflicts was signed by Ghana on 23rd September 2003. The Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour was also ratified by Ghana on 13th June 2000.
On the regional level, Ghana signed the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child on 18th August 1997. The rights of women who are often vulnerable group are also protected under Articles 27 of the 1992 Constitution including all the above international instruments.
It has been reported by the Child Rights International that Research conducted by the Gender Center in 1999, in Ghana shows that, over 90 per cent of the victims of domestic violence are children. The report further stated that “due to cultural secrecy, these cases are not usually reported for redress. A lot of women and children tend to suffer abuse without seeking redress.” Most of these victims live in fear and dejection and for fear of stigmatization are left without any assistance. Even when the perpetrators of the crime are successfully prosecuted the victims are still left without any support, financially, emotionally, psychologically, medically, and educationally. Sometimes it becomes difficult for them to reunite with their immediate Society.
The Victim Support Project (VSP) is designed to respond to the needs of these unfortunate and vulnerable victims of crimes especially women and children.
4.Conducting public education on Crime Alert, the need to report domestic abuses and advocate for the trial of persons who violate such victims and hold watching brief for such victims during the trial.
5.Advocating for justice for victims of crime and effective government policies which will effectively protect the interest of these vulnerable victims.